Journal for Sunday, Feb 1, London
I'm going to skip right over the very long (and winter terrifying) drive to Minneapolis, the flight to Charlotte, VA, 10 hour layover in Charlotte, and 7 1/2 hour plane ride to Gatwick airport, and get right to London.
At the Gatwick airport, Brian (my son) and I miraculously met right up with Dianna (my daughter) and her friend Emily. Dianna and Emily had flown to London from their study abroad program, via 3 days in Amsterdam. (Just let THAT scary thought settle in your brain for a minute or two, two young, naive, 20 year olds enjoying Amsterdam).
And we headed off to the trains that lead right out of the airport. It would have been smooth. . . had it not been Sunday. Apparently, on Sunday the train doesn't lead directly to the station (St. Pancras) that we wanted. The train stops considerably short of St. Pancras, and we had to transfer to the Tube (London's metro.) Except on Sundays, much of the Tube is also shut down for construction, so we took a bizarre, winding, labyrinthian path from Tube line to Tube line, up and down stairs, hither and yon, dragging our luggage, just following orders, and taking it on faith that eventually we get there.
In the states, we tend to say, "Watch your step," especially when there's a big drop from the train to the platform. In London, they say, "Mind the gap, mind the gap, mind the gap. .. " which I think echoed in my brain all night long.
And eventually we got there, to this really rather delightful bed and breakfast hotel, the Crescent Hotel, and trudged on up the stairs to room 26. It really did remind me of the London hotel in National Lampoon's European Vacation, except without the creepy people.
The moment we stepped onto our hotel street, however, it started to snow. No big deal to me! Would you think that I would be rattled by a little light snow in 30 degree ABOVE ZERO weather? Nah! It was positively spring-like!
Brian checking out the computer while it begins to snow outside.
Just outside the hotel as the snow picks up the pace a bit.
More of our hotel "block" as the snow comes down in the night light.
Because I was so exhausted by all the traveling, I went to sleep early, but kept hearing these screams. Lots of screams. More and more screams. Like, endless, all night screams that literally kept up till 3am! At one point, I wandered down the stairs and asked the hotel proprietor what was going on, and she told me it was snowing. ????
Apparently, the hotel is across from part of a college residence, and the entire park area was filled with students probably 18-25 years old, most of whom have never seen snow before, and certainly not anything that would be thick enough to make snowballs. So all night long, they had snowball fights! I wish I'd had a wide-angled lens to show you how many more people were in this park. There must have been 70 or 80 students out there at some points, pelting each other with snow and screaming in glee!
The next day we'd learned that London has not had this much snow in 18 years!